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RIP Google Reader

First Google killed iGoogle.  Now it's putting Google Reader six feet under.  If I didn't know better, I'd start to take this personally.  After all, these are two of my favorite Google products.  Turns out, though,  when it comes to Google Reader there's lots of alternatives out there and switching my RSS feeds to the one I liked best was super easy.  

Which one did I pick?  Feedly.  Why?  Switching was a snap, it's highly rated, has a slick interface, a chrome extension and an app I like.  Truly, it was a no brainer.

What's more, there was no fuss, no drama, no gnashing of teeth.

In fact, Google's done me a great big favor, because making the switch inspired me to do some much needed RSS spring cleaning.  I almost shudder to admit this, but on the day I swapped my Google Reader for a Feedly one, I was subscribed to over 400 blogs.  Seriously, that's a problem.  A big one.  I'm not sure in what world I would have time to read over 400 blogs, but it's clearly not the one I currently inhabit.

On the other hand, making cuts is hard!  Every blog in my reader was hand picked because, at the time anyway, I didn't want to miss a word of what was being posted there.  Perhaps I'm just a girl who's been chosen dead last for the team one too many times, but I'm a big wimp when it comes to picking the talent and cutting the rest.  Which probably explains how my RSS feed got so out of hand to begin with.  So, I needed a system.  A set of criteria I could use to make the process is a little more objective.  That said, here's what I eventually settled on.

  1. Stay Current:  First thing I did was check to see when each site had last been updated.  It took a little time, but scrolling through the feed, it was easy to see which blogs were on permanent hiatus.  I'm not talking about cutting any blog that hasn't been updated in the last two weeks, or even a month, but if the last post was in 2012 and that post was only the 4th one that year, it's safe to say that ship has sailed its last voyage.

  2. Stay Relevant:   Teachers, like all species, have to evolve in order to survive.  So, it's only natural that the spaces where we write and share will also grow and change.   This is a good thing.  But if the focus of a blog no longer interests or inspires, it's time to part ways.

  3. Stay Connected:  So many of the blogs I read are written by folks I've either actually met or have interacted with via my PLN.  In some cases, that connection alone is more important to me than the rules above. There are just some blogs I'm always going to subscribe to because the authors are my peeps.  Enough said.

  4. Stay Inspired:  Blogs that make me laugh, make me think, make me want to be better:  these are the blogs that I want need to read.  This is subjective, of course, but incredibly important.   The more pleasurable this reading is, the more of it I'll do.  And the more I do, the better I become at my work.  And the better I am, the more joyful my practice.  Etc.  

  5. Stay Organized:  Spring cleaning is a great time to sort your reader into folders.  I subscribe to teacher blogs, library blogs, administrator blogs, author blogs, etc.  Sorting them into different categories can make reading all those sources of info a little less daunting.  

In the end, I was able to whittle my gargantuan RSS feed down to fewer than 200 blogs.  This feels like a real victory to me, and not just because the number is smaller, (although that does help), but because I know I'll be able to get so much more out of my feed now that it's more manageable   And that's really empowering.  

So empowering, in fact, that I'm thinking of starting a blog study like the one that was suggested in a recent post by George Couros.  Instead of a book club, it'd be a blog club.  A once per month (virtual) meeting where folks chat about the cream of their RSS crop.  It would be librarian focused, but blogs of all stripes would be up for discussion.  I'm thinking a Google hangout, but I'm still working out the details, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, instead of mourning for Google Reader, let's all clean house.  Virtually, of course.  I so don't do windows.


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